Dear Diane Column — October 8, 2011

Dear Diane, 

I recently started a deluxe gift basket service with a very close friend. We have done everything on a handshake, and I just assumed that she’d do half the work. She works during the day, so I take all of the calls and put the orders together. After work, I shop for interesting items to put in the baskets. She has come up with some cute ideas, and the business was her idea in the first place.
We are starting to pull in several orders a week, so it looks like things are taking off.  How do I tell her that I resent sharing the profits with her? I feel like I’m doing all of the work, yet she expects to get paid. If we reinvest the money into the business, then she can come in and claim half the profits when things really start rolling, and that’s not fair. Will it ruin the friendship if I tell her I want to do this by myself? I don’t want to feel resentment towards my friend.

Fair is Fair

Dear “Fair”

You need to sit down with your partner and put together a business plan. Once your business starts to show profit, whichever of you puts in time needs to be paid an hourly wage. I pick up that you’ve made the assumption that your partner expects to be paid right now, and I feel that this assumption is wrong. I sense that she would gladly see any early profits go to you, so talk to her.
Going into business with a friend can have its challenges, and communication is the biggest hurdle. By sitting down together and deciding what compensation is due to each party, you will both feel much better. Treat yourselves equally as far as payment for time rendered. Being a friend is about valuing one another, so this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Most businesses barely break even during the first few years, so it sounds like the two of you are doing something right. Congratulations!


Dear Diane, 

I love my mother and am grateful to her for giving birth to me. I cringe, however, at her every visit. Now that she is retired and alone, mom divides her time between visiting me and my two brothers. It wouldn’t be so bad, but she is critical of everything I do. Without meaning to, she drives me absolutely crazy. She was critical when we were growing up, and every time she says something, I cringe like a little girl. I end up feeling like I’m not good enough. I want to scream.
When it’s just me and the kids, I feel like a complete adult. I trust my own instincts and stay focused on positive things. How can I make her visits more pleasant? I don’t want to resent her. I want to enjoy her.


Dear LS,

It’s important to remember that both you and your mom are adults now. You are no longer a helpless child, and it’s ok to question it when she gets too negative.
I pick up that with your mother, it’s simply habit. This is her way of being involved in the daily happenings of your life, and she has no idea that her comments are so unwelcome.
You may not be able to change your mother, but you can work on changing your reaction to her. When she says something irritating, place it in a new context. Every comment is an attempt to connect with you, and if you see it that way, you may find it less grating.
A lifetime of negativity is hard to overcome, so when your mother says something positive or even neutral, reward her with a smile and continue the conversation.
Most importantly, stay grounded and focused on the present. You are a competent adult who is capable of running her life just fine. Remember that and her comments will have less sting. Good luck!


Dear Diane,

I’ve been having dreams lately about a friend I had in the third grade. I haven’t seen him since elementary school, yet he has surfaced in my dreams several times in the last month. What does it mean?


Dear Connie, 

Without more details, it’s difficult to give you the entire meaning of the dream, but there is definitely something to examine.
Often a dream about a time in our past can be a hint about the origins of a particular issue. If you are having problems with jealousy, as an example, this dream could be pointing you back to a time in your life where the problem began.
Another thing to examine is your relationship to your friend. It may be that the quality of that friendship in some way resonates with your life today. By looking at the other activities in the dream, you will have a better idea of what these dreams are trying to tell you.
Look for a common thread in each of the dreams. Are they about pleasure? Fear? Confusion? By finding common elements, you will start to put the puzzle together. Sweet dreams!


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